Wisconsin Effort to Recall Gov. Scott Walker Moving Quickly, But Work Remains
On Monday night the United Wisconsin coalition, the committee organizing the effort to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, announced that it had collected 300,000 signatures since the recall kicked off on Nov. 15.
The signature-gathering process has moved very quickly so far. In the first 96 hours of its recall effort, United Wisconsin reported that 105,000 individuals signed the petitions. Last week, volunteers for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin fanned out in shopping centers across the state in order to collect signatures from Black Friday shoppers.
Volunteers have even begun to set up drive-through stations, where citizens can pull pull up and sign a recall form, a tactic that will likely prove to be useful in the coming weeks as the temperature drops.
The group has circulated petitions around the state of Wisconsin, focusing not just on major urban areas, but also on suburban and rural counties. Organizers have collected signatures from counties considered to be Democratic strongholds, such as Columbia County, where organizers reported they’ve gathered 10,333 signatures. They’ve also expanded their efforts to counties considered to be more moderate, such as Portage County, where the organization says 8,540 residents have signed the recall petitions.
“With breathtaking speed, the people of Wisconsin are taking their state back from a Tea Party extremist who has acted as the cat’s paw of corporate special interests in attacking our values and institutions,” Graeme Zielinski, spokesman for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, wrote in a statement to ABC News. “Extremists like Scott Walker acted without accountability and now, using democracy’s tools, is being brought to account.”
Meagan Mahaffey, executive director for United Wisconsin, told ABC News she believes the major contributing factor to the effort’s progress is “Scott Walker’s agenda and everything he’s done to the state.”
However, Wisconsin Republicans dismissed the recall movement as a “baseless power grab.”
Ben Sparks, the spokesman for the Republican Party of Wisconsin, issued a statement on Monday saying, “Despite the Democrats’ attempts to generate false momentum in their never ending effort to score political points, Wisconsin families are only interested in moving our state forward. We remain focused on Governor Walker’s common-sense reforms that have laid the ground work for economic growth, and our economy only continues to improve.”
United Wisconsin will need to collect 540,208 signatures by Jan. 17 in order to get a recall of Governor Walker on the ballot. Technically speaking, the group’s 300,000 signatures puts them over the halfway mark, and the committee hopes to collect upward of 600,000 to 700,000 signatures, as it is likely that some of the signatures collected will end up being thrown out by the state’s Government Accountability Board.
United Wisconsin’s Mahaffey praised the movements success so far and acknowledged that there’s more work to be done.
“This is clearly off to a great start,” she said. “We have more work ahead.”
UPDATE: A previous version of this post stated that 540,208 signatures was equal to 25% of the votes Governor Walker received in the 2010 Gubernatorial election. In fact, 540,208 represents 25% of the total number of votes cast in that contest.